If You Get Breast Implants Removed, is a Lift Going to Be Enough?

...or would i need to get smaller implants?

I was going to just have a breast lift but instead had breast implants put in also about 5 years ago, and my surgeon lied to me and told me I would be 2 cup sizes smaller if I just got a lift, so i got the implants, now i am in a 34G!! I want to know if I just get the implants removed and get a lift will my breasts look ok?

Doctor Answers 21

Lift After Implant Removal

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It really depends on the size of the implants you are removing and the degree of laxity (loss of elasticity) in the breast skin.

If you were a candidate for a lift before your current implants, you probably would benefit from a lift when your implants are removed.

Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

If you take out the implants, you may need to tighten up the skin

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Jen, Unfortunately, if you have the implants removed, then you may need to tighten up the skin. Otherwise, your breasts may become ptotic (droop). If you have saline implants in now, have the surgeon deflate them percutaneously a few weeks before surgery. This will allow the skin to naturally contract and minimize the amount of lift you may need. It will also let you see what our breasts will look like without the implants. I hope you find this helpful. David Shafer, MD New York City

Lifts and implants

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Sorry your unhappy with your profile.

Some of the important considerations are how big were the implants that were placed and how much ptosis (breast sagging) do you have currently and what is your final size goal?

Removing larger sized implants tend to create more of an unattractive breast when not combined with additional procedures like lift or implant replacement.

In addition, if you have a significant amount of sagging currently, removing implants that are even medium sized will increase that ptosis.

Finally, what size are you looking for? Typically patients that are as large as you are wish to be smaller. You may actually need a breast reduction in this case.

I hope this helps.

Speak with a board certified plastic surgeon to carefully examine your options and expectations.

Options after breast explant

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This is a question with too many variables to give a defininate answer to. I will give you some things to think about however.

  1. The final size of the breast will depend on how much natural breast tissue is present after the implants are removed, along with the skin and breast tissue removed with the mastopexy.
  2. If the breast size and shape are acceptable to you will depend on what you want to accomplish. What may be a great result for one person, may be unacceptable to another.
  3. The choice of implant is determined by the chest wall size/shape of the patient, and so a larger implant is usually required in women with larger chest walls (bra sizes 36, 38, etc.). Therefore, although a smaller implant may be desired, it may not produce a more asethetic result.
  4. Don't forget that there are options in implant selection. Silicone implants tend to make a smaller breast (at least projection wise) than corresponding saline implants. There are also low profile implants that can be considered.
  5. Finally, it is important to remember that you don't have to do everything at once. For example, you could just have the implants removed and get a mastopexy. See how you like them. If you are happy you stop. If you feel that you need a larger breast size, you can always get the implant later. This staged approach gives the advantage that you only get what you need, it is safer, it is more predictable, it could potentially save you money. The down side is that if you decide on the implants at a later date, it will be additional surgery, anesthesia, $$$.

So you have options.

Breast augmentation or a lift?

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To determine the procedure best for you, an in person consultation would be required. The size of your breasts now, the size you would like to be and the quality of your skin will all be important factors in deciding what is best for you. 

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

Things to Consider When Removing Breast Implants

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Breast implants can be used instead of a lift if the patient is looking for more volume and is not experiencing a high degree of sagging. It is hard to say if this was the right call without examining you prior to your surgery.

When a patient undergoes breast augmentation, the skin and tissue is stretched to accommodate the breast implants. When the implant is removed this skin and tissue can create breast ptosis (sagging). Often time a breast lift is performed to remove the excess sagging skin after the implant is removed. From your comments about your breasts prior to surgery, it sounds like you would need a lift, but may also benefit from a small implant to maintain the fullness.  It is hard to say for sure without examining you.

I would seek the opinions of several board certified plastic surgeons before deciding to undergo your revision

Tarick K. Smiley, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 117 reviews

Breast lifts may work well after breast implants

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When large breast implants have been placed, the overlying breast and skin is stretched over the new volume. Removal of the implants can leave excessive extra tissue, and so a lift is often performed where some of the excess tissue is removed. If the tissues have been excessively stretched, however, this can be difficult without replacement of the large breast implants with smaller ones to occupy some of the former volume. While it will be best for you to consult with a board certified plastic surgeon first hand to get an individualized plan for your breast surgery, in general women with situations similar to the one you’ve described can get very nice results with a combination of breast implant replacement with a smaller implant in addition to a breast lift.

Removal of implants may require a lift but not necessarily.

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Most patients who have breast augmentation and later have the implants removed do not need a breast lift.  Very few women, however, choose to have implants removed without replacement.  Unless a lift is unavoidable, I prefer to remove the implants and let the patient decide if a lift is "necessary".  This makes the process 2 stages, but only a small minority choose to proceed with the second operation.

Possible procedures to improve breast look shape and size

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Based on the information you have provided, I would recommend consulting with a board certified plastic surgeon regarding revisionary breast surgery. Photos would be helpful in determining what procedures you would most benefit from. Once you have decided what look you would like to achieve, then you can discuss your best and safest possible options. A lift alone may not provide any fullness and you may be dissapointed. For more information, check out before and after photos of patients who had similar concerns. Good luck! 

Breast Lift after implant removal

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Breast implants can be removed and not replaced if there is enough breast tissue on both sides to make nice breasts. Older silicone implants might be a possible exception here as they tend to require more capsule work with removal. This is a question you will need to sit in front of a good surgeon to have properly addressed.

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.